McDonald’s Looks to a “Suburban Dad” Hamburglar to Defeat Sales Slump

McDonald’s has fallen on hard times. The fast food giant has faced — ahem —“supersized” issues over the past few years; from health scares overseas to the general “health-conscience” mindset of people here in the States, the company has reported declining profits for several quarters in a row.

So how does McDonald’s expect to recover from recent losses? By bringing back an old friend: The Hamburglar.

Seriously. This guy.

“Please, buy hamburgers again. I’m starvin’ here.”

One of the ways the company plans to turn itself around, according to a video “pep-talk” given by newly-minted CEO Steve Easterbrook this week (which sites like Mashable deemed “passionless”), McDonald’s is looking to create more “brand excitement” — starting, it seems, with a new look for The Hamburglar.

This “2015 Hamburglar” has been given what McDonald’s is basically calling a suburban dad look (though, accurately enough, The Verge has dubbed the new Hamburglar’s getup “a dad that picked the lamest costume at Party City”) — complete with a wife and kids. Golin is apparently behind the video accompanying this McDonald’s tweet, announcing the return of the company’s old mascot.

 

AdAge is also reporting that this humanized Hamburglar will begin to appear in a Leo Burnett-produced spot for the company’s new LTO sirloin burgers.

While the new Hamburglar isn’t the only thing Easterbrook has in mind to turn McDonald’s around — a new, less bloated franchise structure and a delivery test in NYC have already been either discussed or introduced — the company seems to be putting a lot of eggs in the “hey, we remember him; let’s eat there” basket. Nostalgia can be a powerful advertising technique; but, is it enough to bring consumers back to the once all-powerful fast food chain?

 Call me a pessimist (I am), but I’m not sure a “hotter” version of the formerly tubby hamburger thief is going to have quite the impact McDonald’s is hoping for. Sure, he’ll generate buzz for a time, but increase sales? That’s going to require much more than a suburban outfit and a burger (supposedly) made of sirloin.

For my money, Grimace was the better McDonald’s character anyway. Mind you, he was engorged and purple (from too many burgers/not enough oxygen maybe?), but Grimace is far more likeable — like a pet bulldog you just want to snuggle up on the couch with. Who wants to hang around a guy that steals your food?

In any case, yes; McDonald’s is totally serious about this. God bless ’em — at least they’re trying something.

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